Empirical Legal Research: The Gap between Facts and Values and Legal Academic Training

15 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2015

See all articles by Frans L. Leeuw

Frans L. Leeuw

Maastricht University; Government of the Netherlands - Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice

Date Written: July 02, 2015

Abstract

While traditional legal scholarship is under pressure and debates are taking place on the aims and methods of the academic study of law, at the same time empirical legal research is blossoming if not booming. The more empirical legal research is a growth industry, the more important it is to understand and discuss epistemological, methodological and translational problems of this field of study. This paper focuses on problems of a translational character, i.e. how to bring empirical evidence to the fore, in such a way that it can be understood and used by lawyers, legislators and regulators. And how to deal with the gap between facts (‘evidence’) and values, also known as the fact-value dichotomy. Our perspective is what students of law, including PhD candidates and legal practitioners (in training), need to know about this problem and how to address it. The paper summarizes several approaches to this gap problem, based on Giesen (2015) and continues with a critical analysis of his due process approach. Our analysis is that the gap problem continues to exist despite Giesen’s suggestions. Therefore four other approaches are put forward, two from the field of evaluation studies, one from argumentational analysis and one from empirically informed ethics. Finally, the paper discusses the relevance of these approaches for the legal curriculum.

Keywords: empirical legal research; the fact-value gap; due process approach; evaluation studies; empirically informed ethics; legal academic training

Suggested Citation

Leeuw, Frans L., Empirical Legal Research: The Gap between Facts and Values and Legal Academic Training (July 02, 2015). Utrecht Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 2, p. 19-33, June 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2630043

Frans L. Leeuw (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, 6200MD
Netherlands

Government of the Netherlands - Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice ( email )

Box 20301
Den Haag, 2500 EH
Netherlands

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
316
Abstract Views
1,234
rank
117,093
PlumX Metrics